Antrim and Newtownabbey: council picks up bill at nine electric vehicle charge points

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Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has agreed to tender for the provision and management of electric vehicle (EV) charging points at the local authority’s car parks and depots.

Minutes of a discussion behind closed doors at a recent meeting of the council’s Operations Committee indicated there are currently 18 EV charging points located at council car parks across the borough.

Nine charge points are council-owned and operated with nine operated by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) which were installed as part of a ‘Plugged in Places’ Programme in 2012.

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The minutes noted due to a change in legislation, ESB commenced charging customers for the use of the charge points in April last year. Members were told, however, the council has been paying the electricity bill at an undisclosed cost at its own charge points.

Electric vehicle charging point. Pic: Local Democracy Reporting Service.Electric vehicle charging point. Pic: Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Electric vehicle charging point. Pic: Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Minutes also stated: “The proposed operation model would provide a positive impact on council finances by generating income from the lease of car parking spaces and reducing the current expenditure relating to maintenance and electricity as this would be the responsibility of the successful charge point operator.”

Meanwhile, the council is one of nine in Northern Ireland that have formed a consortium to take part in the roll-out of an On-Street Residential Charge Point Scheme (ORCS) supported by £1.35m of funding from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles and £0.5m funding from the Department for Infrastructure.

The aim is to increase the availability of on-street charge points in residential streets where off-street parking is not available. New chargers are generally either 22kW or 44kW which means that charging can be completed in around 20 minutes. Overall, there are 33 electric vehicle charge points in the borough.

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Councillors were told damaged charge points have been removed at Ballyearl in Newtownabbey and would not be replaced in advance of the tender process. However, in response to a query, they were advised additional disabled parking spaces will be considered at the site.

Concerns over a charging station not functioning at a Portglenone Road facility were noted.

Sites to have been considered for the ORCS application were: John Street play park, Dunsilly; Toome play park car park; Wallace Park, Templepatrick; The Square carpark, Ballyclare; Granges Entry, Ballyclare; Lilian Bland car park Glengormley; Merville Garden Village; Knockenagh Road.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter